If Castro and Ortega are Sanders’s favorite dictators, Egyptian president Abd El-Fattah Al-Sisi is Trump’s favorite. Don’t take my word for it—Trump has said so himself. Although surely Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un must rank way up there, too, on Trump’s list of dictator faves.
Sanders and Trump are also similar in their thoughts on America’s democratic allies. Trump doesn’t care for NATO—he prefers Russia. Sanders doesn’t like Taiwan or Israel. He has consistently voted against selling security goods to and cooperating militarily with Taiwan. A few months ago, he praised the Chinese Communist Party for what it has done to eliminate poverty—even as Hong Kongers were protesting for their rights and waving American flags, and while Uighur Muslims are in concentration camps.
Both Sanders and Trump have been frequent users of the phrase “endless wars,” Trump in countless tweets, and Sanders in speeches and writings. Which is fine. It is only normal to want to end a war. What they really share is a mutual dishonesty about the degree of the U.S. involvement in those conflicts—the number of U.S. military personnel now in Iraq and Afghanistan combined is about half the number in Germany today, and the annual cost of both is now around 5 percent of the annual discretionary budget of the federal government. Just like Trump, Sanders, too, has a fundamental problem with facts, when it comes to war and international affairs.